Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.

 Thieves might:

  • Go through your trash can or dumpster, stealing bills with sensitive information.
  • Work for businesses and steal information on the job.
  • Misuse the name of a legitimate business and try to trick you into revealing information, either by phone or by email.
  • Pretend to offer you a job, or rent an apartment and ask you for information to “qualify.”
  • Steal your wallet, purse, backpack or mail in order to get credit cards or other items that show personal information.

 Signs of Identity Theft:

  • Mistakes on your bank or credit card statements.
  • Mistakes on the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan.
  • Bills for items you did not purchase
  • Calls from debt collectors
  • An IRS notice that someone has used your Social Security Number
  • Unwarranted collection notices on your credit report
  • Being turned down for a loan or a job

 Protect Yourself by:

  • Order all 3 credit reports once per year and read them carefully. To order, go to annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228
  • Read all the bank, credit card statements or health benefit explanations you receive – if there is a mistake contact the the business right away
  • Shred all documents that show personal information before you throw them away.
  • Do not use the same computer password for more than one account
  • Use antivirus and firewall protection software on your computer
  • If you shop online, make sure the website uses encryption – https at the beginning of a web address (“s” is for secure).

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